Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sloppy Opener for Yankees

The main question coming into the season regarding the rotation was whether CC Sabathia would be able to move past his 2013 struggles with diminished velocity. In tonight's opener at Houston, Sabathia's performance was reminiscent of his 2013 self. CC, who's velocity was steadily at 88-90 MPH on the gun, gave up two home runs to no-names on the Houston Astros. The Yankee infield defense was especially sloppy in the first inning, which led to Sabathia's falling apart in the first two innings of the game. CC allowed four earned runs in the first inning thanks in part to the Yankees playing sloppy defense in the infield. In addition, Carlos Beltran also had a couple of hiccups in right including a play in the second inning where he bobbled a ball hit by Jose Altuve that led to the second baseman ending up on second base. However, the main focus of the night will be surrounding CC Sabathia's ineffectiveness through the first two innings. Sabathia left his fastballs up in the zone leaving it easy for the hitters to take batting practice, leading to the six early runs that buried the Yankees.

Transitioning to the offense, this new-look Yankees offense featured only one player who was in the Opening Day lineup last year, and that player was Brett Gardner. Following the Astros' four run outburst in the first inning followed by another two tack-on runs in the second on a L.J. Hoes home run and an Altuve single. With the talent on this roster, there is no reason why the Yankees should feel discouraged after falling behind early. The season is (very) young and they had ample opportunity to get something started. Instead, they made Scott Feldman look like Nolan Ryan, amassing only two hits off the Astros number one starter in 6.2 innings. The Yankees were putting the ball in play, but most of the balls were lazy flyouts that did not go very deep or went right at the fielder. Overall, this was a pathetic effort by the Yankees, led by their ace CC Sabathia who allowed six runs in six innings of work while allowing two long balls in a spacious Minute Maid Park.

Some things worth noting in this otherwise forgettable Opening Day game for the Yankees include Beltran's first Yankee hit, which also happened to be the first hit of the Yankees season. Later in the game, Brian McCann got his first hit in a Yankee uniform and also notched an RBI in the same play. In addition, Mark Teixeira who is a notoriously slow starter got two base hits, an RBI and walked against Feldman. Lastly, Jacoby Ellsbury walked in the eighth inning against a lefty and scored on McCann's RBI single. Derek Jeter went 1-3 with a run scored in his final Opening Day. Dellin Betances impressed out of the bullpen with a quick 1-2-3 inning in the seventh with a couple of strikeouts.

Despite it being April 1st, but the Yankees need to win these next two games against the lowly Astros who have lost 100 or more games in each of the last three seasons. Going for the Yankeees tomorrow will be right handed pitcher Hiroki Kuroda who was the Yankees ace last year, specifically in the first half of the season. Jarred Cosart will pitch for the Astros as the Yankees look to begin their winning ways.

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